As I walked with my two dogs through the fields and pecan orchards of Mesilla on Spring Holiday Friday, with the magnificent Organ Mountains in the background, I could not help but reflect on the wonderful quality of life we enjoy in the Las Cruces area. Part of the charm is the environment. Although not for everyone (too brown, too austere), I cannot get enough of the bright, piercing sunshine and the verdant valley surrounded by a desert teeming with life and some of the most beautiful mountain peaks in North America. Whether hiking in Soledad Canyon, or along Dripping Springs Trail, or simply going outside for a walk virtually anywhere in the area, one can appreciate the bright, blue, big sky, the vast expanse of land, and the peaks that sail by, changing color and aspect depending on the time of day.
Just as important as the environment are the people of southern New Mexico – honest, hard-working, and welcoming to friends and to strangers. When I meet with visitors to this area, it is rare for them not to comment on the friendliness and kindness of the people in our community. It is more than pleasant greetings of “good morning” and “buenos días”. Who among us cannot recount many tales of small kindnesses demonstrated by strangers, who took the time to give directions, offered a hand when we stumbled and fell, or stopped to help when our car broke down? We get to know each other, and form friendships that are deep and lasting and cut across ethnic and socio-economic lines.
To top it all off, despite being a relatively small community, we are home to one of the nation’s great land-grant universities, a place of inquiry and learning that is strongly committed to outreach and improving the quality of life in our community and region. It is a place of discovery, not only for its students, but for all the people of our area. Through its educational programs, cultural activities, and athletic events, NMSU enriches our lives and adds to the enchantment of one of the most livable communities in the country.
“Another day in paradise” can be a cynically cutting remark after a long day at the office in some parts of the country. For me, it is an honest description of our day-to-day life in the Mesilla Valley. I hope it is for you, as well.
With all best wishes,